Football: Viduka violation sullies the dismissal of Dunfermline

BY PHIL GORDON Dunfermline 1 Coyle 83 Celtic 2 Johnson 2, 44 Half- time: 0-2 Attendance: 8,809
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CELTIC SHOOK off the Old Firm blues that have clung to them for the last week, but it will take Dunfermline a lot longer than that to stop feeling down: a season, at least.

Despite Owen Coyle's late goal, the Scottish Premier League's most toothless side could not find a goal when they needed it most. Tommy Johnson could. The Celtic striker marked his first game after 15 months out with a knee injury with a double, which confirmed the hosts' relegation.

However, Celtic could not shake off the ill-discipline that stalks them. Mark Viduka became the deposed champions' eighth red card of the season, for the heinous crime of spitting.

Only 60 seconds had passed when Dunfermline failed to pick up Johnson as the former Aston Villa striker made a late run into the box to meet Henrik Larsson's knockdown from Alan Stubbs' cross and Johnson hooked a right-foot shot into the net.

Despite that Celtic remained subdued, but Larsson tested the Dunfermline keeper Lee Butler, who reacted superbly to push the Swede's snap volley past the post. Butler's resistance seemed to inspire his team-mates and Dunferline ought to have equalised from one of the three chances which came Coyle's way before half-time. True, Enrico Annoni blocked one of Coyle's efforts on the line, but the striker's 39th-minute miss was beyond belief.

Celtic doubled their lead five minutes later, although it came at the cost of Viduka's dismissal. The Australian had his run halted by Jason Dair scything tackle, and reacted to Stewart Petrie's taunts by spitting and was immediately sent off. Larsson rolled the free-kick into the path of Johnson, who thrashed a left-foot shot in from 20 yards through a ruck of players.

Butler prevented the situation from getting worse in the 54th minute when he kept out Larsson's penalty after Marc Millar handled Simon Donnelly's shot and Coyle finally cast off his profligacy seven minutes from the end to raise Dunfermline's spirits, courtesy of Annoni's poor passback.